As an interior decor blogger, I don’t normally discuss baby products despite the topic being directly related to our home. As someone that gets energy from the feeling of order in her surroundings, I absolutely did not want my home to feel like the inside of a Babies R’ Us after having children. I feel like I read hundreds of “best baby products” blog posts when I was pregnant, but it was hard for me to find one directed at minimalists. The first 8 months of my daughter’s life we lived in a smallish condo in downtown Washington D.C., and I didn’t want to clutter it with a ton of baby products. We also knew that we wanted to travel so we wanted products that could be used for a variety of situations. After 10 months in the “parenting trenches”, these are the baby products that I absolutely love and would buy again.
- Baby Stroller: Baby Jogger City Mini Stroller ($279.99, but we bought ours on Zulilly for $150)
I’ve heard mixed reviews on this stroller, but we absolutely love it. Our home in D.C. required us to walk up or down a flight of stairs every time we wanted to go out with the stroller, so a lightweight, easy-to-close stroller was a necessity. The one-handed close has been incredibly useful for us in both the city (going up and down those stairs) and at the airport when gate-checking the stroller with a squirmy infant in our arms. It only weights 18 pounds so it wasn’t too difficult for me to close up and carry a few weeks after my c-section. Additionally, I appreciated that the back folds down almost completely flat, making it safe for newborns. We purchased the Graco carseat adapters so that we could click our infant seat onto the top (fabulous for street parking and zipping through the airport). We also bought the tray attachment since we use the stroller as a makeshift high chair when we are out traveling or at a restaurant without high chairs. My main gripe about this stroller is that the basket is smaller than I’d prefer. Living in a city with a baby means that the stroller basket is also the shopping basket so I wish that Baby Jogger could have found a way to put a much larger basket under the stroller. Despite this flaw, I love that its heavy duty wheels hold up beautifully to the cobblestone streets of Italy, and I can steer it easily with one hand if I happen to be holding a baby and pushing around groceries that are heaped up INSIDE my stroller.
2. Baby Car Seat: Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 Car Seat ($142.87, but we purchased ours on sale for $120)
A lot of people have very strong opinions about car seats, and I completely understand why: car accidents are incredibly common, and these contraptions save lives. That being said, I knew that my daughter would not use a “bucket seat” for a long time so I didn’t want to splurge on an expensive one. I also knew that all car seats sold in the US have to pass the same safety tests. After reading numerous car seat reviews, we decided that it was the right seat for us based on its weight. At only 7.5 pounds, this car seat is one of the lightest on the market. When you have to park several blocks away from your home in the city or carry this through a crowded airplane (It IS safe for use on airplanes.), we appreciated that it was much lighter than other models. Being inexpensive and lightweight DOES have its drawbacks though, this car seat does feel less “plush” than other models and rethreading the harness straps is a bit less convenient than other models. We found installation to be a breeze though, and I love how simple it is to install without the base for taxi rides while traveling.
3. “Diaper Bag”: Skip Hop Pronto Signature Portable Changing Mat ($29.99)
As a hoarding wannabe minimalist, I knew I was not to be trusted with a large diaper bag. I would stuff it full of alllllll the things and never be able to find anything I actually need. When I saw my friend carrying around this cute, little clutch for her infant, I knew it was exactly what I needed. I have used this thing EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. When we travel, this is the only item I carry on the plane for my daughter (plus a spare onesie in my purse). I can also clip it onto my stroller and use it as my purse, as well. I stick hand sanitizer, my keys, money, and my ID in the outer zipper. Inside, it has a section for wipes, another zipper section for diapers (I can fit 6 in there!) and diaper cream, and a foldout, wipeable changing pad with a built-in pillow. As a germaphobe I love that this thing fits perfects in the airplane bathroom for changing, and I even use it around our home as the changing table. It’s WAY easier to wipe off than our fabric-covered changing pad.
4. Travel Crib: Graco Pack N Play Nimble Nook ($62.99)
I’m obsessed with this travel crib! It’s half the size of standard pack n plays so it takes up much less space. We kept it in our bedroom when our daughter was a newborn, and she slept in the bassinet portion of it. In the bassinet mode, it also has a vibration feature to soothe young babies although we didn’t use it. It also has wheels and is narrow enough to be rolled through doorways so we’d roll it around the house to keep an eye on her. When our daughter was 5 weeks old, we took our first mini-vacation with her, and this crib was perfect for the hotel room. When we moved to Italy, we flew with this (it’s lighter and smaller folded than a standard pack n play), and it’s been great in our hotel. We even fill it with plastic balls to create a ball pit for our daughter! I’ll add that the sleeping pad for this model is difficult to clean, but luckily mini crib sheets will fit this perfectly. We bought a waterproof, quilted mini crib sheet that solves that issue easily.
5. High Chair: Ingenuity Baby Base 2-in-1 Seat, $44.99
I’m embarrassed to admit that we splurged a bit on a much more expensive high chair. When we moved to Italy, someone gave me this seat to use at the hotel, and it is SO much better! I wish I’d had this seat from the very beginning. Skip the Bumbo and the Sit-Me-Up. This seat supports under the baby’s entire thigh to help early sitters just practice sitting. It straps onto your existing chairs, and the blue infant insert can be removed to turn it into a booster for older kids. The tray can even be stored inside the seat when not in use! Cleaning this seat is ridiculously easy. We either wipe it off with a wet rag or pull out the infant insert and wash it off in the sink.